Ontario Auto Insurance Bill Deeply Flawed

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Auto insurance, Ontario news Ontario politics

New Ontario Liberal auto insurance bill favours insurance industry profits at the expense of accident victims.

An Ontario Liberal government bill designed to reduce costs for the auto insurance industry entered public hearings on Wednesday.

Supporting the bill were groups such as the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the main lobby group for the auto insurance industry, as well as insurer heavy weights such as Aviva Canada.

Opposing the bill were groups representing accident victims such as the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and the Fair Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform (FAIR). These and other groups argued passionately that a number of the changes in the bill would benefit insurers at the expense of accident victims.

Votes on amendments will take place in committee on Monday, November 17.

The most controversial elements of the bill involve two provisions:

  • Removing the right to sue an insurance company over disputed Accident Benefits (no-fault benefits) after mediation has failed;
  • Reducing the interest rate insurance companies have to pay on delayed awards to accident victims.

During committee, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA), representing personal injury lawyers, argued that removing the right to sue disputed claims will lead to extra costs and inefficiencies in the system. Ontario New Democrats have also taken this position as have a number of accident victims groups, including FAIR.

Currently, following a failed mediation in a dispute over Accident Benefits with an auto insurance company, an injured person has the option of choosing between bringing a case to court or going to an arbitrator in the government’s dispute resolution system.

Bill 15 would remove the option of taking insurance disputes to a court to be heard.

At committee, the Trial Lawyers (OTLA), FAIR and the NDP all argued that taking away the right to go to court is unfair – particularly for injured people who have both Accident Benefits claims against their own auto insurance company and court claims against at-fault drivers.

On the second controversial issue, accident victims’ groups argued that reducing the delayed award interest rate to 1.3% – from the current 5% –  will be an incentive for unscrupulous insurers to defraud accident victims out of timely benefits.

These groups argued that the infamous “deny, delay, and dispute” tactics of the auto insurance industry leave many victims waiting 5 years or more to get their rightful award. They further argued that reducing the interest rate insures pay on delayed awards makes it harder for victims to hold insurers accountable – that Bill 15 will reward those insurers that regularly delay or fail to pay legitimate claims.

According to the accident victims’ group FAIR, “reduced interest payable on Accident Benefits won’t benefit insurers who are properly handling their claims and paying what they owe,  but it will incentivize those insurers who deliberately delay claims and it will reward those with more shady business practices.”

The bill also proposes changes to the auto insurance dispute resolution system.

The government and industry’s argument is that changes need to be made to Ontario’s auto insurance dispute resolution system in the hope that a streamlined system would help injured Ontario drivers settle disputed claims faster. The bill moves the current dispute-resolution system for auto insurance claims to the Ministry of the Attorney General from the Financial Services Commission of Ontraio (FSCO), where it would be administered by the existing Licence Appeal Tribunal.

However, accident victims’ groups expressed concern that experienced mediators and arbitrators would be lost in the transfer and would be replaced by adjudicators with little or no experience with auto insurance. The NDP also expressed this concern.

Finally, the legislation would regulate the towing and vehicle storage industries with a focus on consumer protection from questionable practices in the towing industry.

The towing truck provisions would require tow truck operators and vehicle storage providers to:

  • Have permission from a consumer or someone acting on behalf of the consumer before charging for towing and storage services;
  • Publicly post prices and other information, such as the tow truck operator’s name and contact information;
  • Accept credit card payments from consumers (to move away from “cash only” practices);
  • Provide an itemized invoice listing the services provided and the total cost; and
  • Give the Province the authority to reduce the current 60-day period that a vehicle can be stored after an accident, accruing charges, without notice to the car owner.

Currently, the auto towing industry is unregulated beyond a patchwork of inconsistent municipal by-laws. Most groups agreed that some uniform provincial government oversight would be a positive move and would reign in some of the “rogue” tow truck operators and vehicle storage companies that are defrauding accident victims.

While the towing truck provisions are, on balance, positive, the accident victims’ groups had the stronger arguments at committee on Bill 15’s key provisions.

Reducing the prejudgement interest insurers pay will likely encourage insurers to turn down even more claims. If there are no punitive measures to discourage delaying accident victims’ claims, insurers will take that money owed to accident victims and invest it while victims go without supports or treatment and have to pay interest on money they borrow. Even more debt will be incurred by accident victims in order to survive and to hire expensive lawyers to get what they paid for and are entitled to.

Taking away accident victims’ access to the courts on disputed “no-fault” claims is also a mistake.

To force injured people to hire lawyers twice and bring in expert witnesses such as doctors for two separate hearings on the same issues, makes no economic sense and will cause unnecessary financial hardship for accident victims.

While some provisions of Bill 15 are positive, it remains a deeply flawed bill.

Groups such as the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and the NDP have put forward practical solutions to the bill’s flaws that should be supported by the government majority when the committee votes on amendments Monday, November 17.

After failing to honour their promise to reduce auto insurance premiums by 15%, Ontario Liberals should not be bringing in another bill that increases insurance industry profits.

Ontario’s 8 million drivers deserve a fair break – not another piece of legislation that favours insurance industry profits over accident victims!

10 thoughts on “Ontario Auto Insurance Bill Deeply Flawed

  1. Claudette Conrad

    To Whom it may Concern:
    This is what I call progress! I’m in my 10th year of struggle with State Farm Insurance/IBC/Wynne Government! I am also a member of FAIR. My Accident was on September 2, 2005, known now as a
    grandfather case because of the more recent sickening legislated changes to the Insurance Act.

    I feel so sorry for anyone who will have an accident since 2009 and especially now with the new proposed
    Bill 15 which the Wynne Government is more than willing to pass! All governments of the day have always been in BED with Insurance Companies and obviously because IBC/Insurance Industries have donated very generous millions to the party currently in place with, lest we forget, is the money of their clients for Car Insurance.

    They also have KPMG as their Accountants who are paid handsomely for their very complicated and one sided reports. Obviously they are going to favor their clients. Many questions MVA victims should be entitled to know are ignored.

    The old “Rampant Fraud” angle pertaining to the unproven fact that all accident victims are “malingerers” in other words “liars” is really starting to wear thin and with more informed clients now on websites, the public is getting sick and tired of this Mafia style of doing business for profit only.

    When has it ever been reported that these millions of dollars they say is being spent on fraudulent clients broken down to exactly where the money is going?
    Has anyone ever deciphered how much of (our) the client’s money is going to their hand picked buddies, these IME (Independent Medical Examiners) in this shady business?

    Indeed, many of these greedy, less than honorable so called medical professionals have totally forgotten their sacred oath: “Above all, do no Harm”! I’ve met so many of these money hungry buggers with my over 9 years, you wouldn’t believe the crude and cruel treatment MVA victims are exposed to.

    Example: Their rude dentist, didn’t stick to what he was suppose to ask me about, in fact I had to ask him several times to examine my teeth & jaw and he stated, : “not until you answer my other questions”!
    “How much do you drink & do you smoke marijuana”?!!! I, being the honest person answered his questions, but when it came to the marijuana, I told him: “in the 70’s, of course I tried it, it’s no longer my cup of tea given the amount of medications I have to take, however, even my relatives still partake of this”! Then he asked me: “How often do you see your relatives”? I didn’t understand what he was after.
    Now, here’s the clincher in his report, he stated that I use marijuana once a month with relatives!!!
    This is how they operate even to the point of lying and defaming suffering MVA victims!

    When this is all settled, this dentist for sure will be reported to his College, I have the written proof and I intend to save the next poor victims from this abuse. That’s only one abuser!

    I won’t go into my multitude of physical and mental problems caused by this accident, however, I can honestly state that I have a perfect driving record, this accident was not my fault, my car was totalled and the driver of the other vehicle was charged with “Dangerous Driving”! That intersection now has a caution light since this accident.

    Most Canadians are too polite and easily manipulated, well, not me. I’m now disabled, have chronic pain and at 67 yrs. of age, I don’t give a damn anymore and will see these bastards at trial if need be!

    Most Sincerely,
    Claudette M. Conrad
    116 Woolwich St.
    Kitchener, Ont.
    N2K 1S4
    519-744-6999
    claudette47@bell.net

    Reply
  2. rick

    @claudette when I hear about my insurance company giving donations to food banks and to charity programs to assist the disabled it makes me want to be sick. how many of the people at that food bank are their own starving customers?
    my insurance company did everything possible and used every dirty trick including harassing my kids to deny my claim and spent a lot more than they paid to me on their phoney doctors and high priced lawyers. The low interest rate will be another way to trash people when they are at their lowest point and an easy mark for the real fraudsters. Ontario’s insurance companies.
    Ontario government firmly in pocket of this mega business that is totally unaccountable when ripping off their own customers.

    Reply
  3. Gerry Burnie

    For whatever reason, Wynne and Sousa don’t want to inconvenience the auto insurance companies — who have flatly told the provincial government that the 15% reduction “isn’t going to happen.”

    It matters little anyway, because what the insurers have done is to the rates on other categories of insurance — i..e. Travel insurance has increased 75% in two years (61% in the first year.)

    It is nothing short of highway robbery.

    Reply
  4. Ruth

    To whom it may concern.

    – Allstate versus Allstate Ins. Company tort claim is a Nightmare in Hell.

    – Filing a complaint against my lawyer(professional misconduct) with The Law Society of Upper Canada was a Freak Show from Mars.

    – D.A.C./I/M/E clowns are in bed with the insurance companies.

    -Rehabilitation Casemanager was caught falsifying doctor’s medical reports, without authorization, consent or knowledge, forging doctor’s signature on medical docuemtns without authorization or consent of doctor, Submitting false documents to Allstate Ins. Company on behalf of client (me) without client authorization, consent or knowledge
    Rehabilitation Casemanager filled out a Psychological Assessment/Evaluation for Medical Treatment, treatment plan, a medical treatment plan for PTSD, Severe Depression and whole body chronic pain from a pedestrian car accident… invoice and doctor’s signature to boot. Neither I or the doctor had any knowlege of this until the Doctor submitted his medical assessment/evaluation medical treatment plan for (PTSD, Severe Depression, Whole Body Debilitating Chronic Pain) to Allstate Ins. Comp. and that’s where all 4ell broke loose. Allstate accused the Doctor of double dipping/ billing the ins. comp. Allstate demanded that the doctor treat me under the first medical treatment plan submitted to Allstate Ins. Comp. Little did Allstate know that the first medical treatment plan was filled out by the FRAUDULENT Rehabilitation Casemanager. The doctor was IRATE, and that’s an understatement of the year. The doctor went on to say, “WHAT GALL”!!! “The rehabilitation casemanager had no business doing what she did.” You and I both know, only a doctor can fill out a assessment/evaluation medical report for future medical treatment. The doctor refused to treat me under the bogus medical treatment plan sent into my ins. comp. by the fraudulent rehab. casemanger. The doctor asked me if I would go along with him and file a lawsuit against the rehab. casemanager. Three years into my tort claim, I said to the doctor, “please let me firstly talk with my lawyer, my lawyer hired the rehab. casemanager to work on my behalf, she came highly recommended by my lawyer, I was led to believe that the rehab casemanager would help me seek the meidcal attention, care and treatment /medical benefits provided by my ins. comp. This is where my nightmare begins. The cover up and corruption in my case was over the top. Only for The Law Society of Upper Canada to deny my claim, not once but twice as I had appealed their decision and lost. In the first five years of my pedestrian car accident, in the very beginning of my claim 2000 I had twenty seven hours physio therapy under my belt before Allstate Ins. cut me off my medical benefits. that was in the first four months of my claim…infact Allstate Ins. cut off my medical benefit three or four times through those first four months of my claim. it just so happens, that the person that hit me , a reckless pizza delibery driver…had Allstate Ins. Comp. I’m covered under my spouse’s ins. policy Allstate Ins. For the record, I’ve never made a claim , never had any accidents, whistle clean driving record, no traffic tickets or fines, rated by Allstate 6 STAR driver. I’ve now been driving approx. 35 years…been with ALlstate for approx. 20+years.

    The mess of doctors I seen DAC/IME specialists…total around fifty doctors. I kid you not.
    I was up against a system corrupt to the core.
    The abusive bullying harassment that followed is beyond comprehension. The cover up was a joke.
    Five years with my lawyer, and five years with the law society
    Ten years of 4ell, which has taken me ten years to find my voice.
    Yup, I have to agree with ……..these bastards know who they are, along with a thousand and one curse words to follow here.
    How about that good ole Discovery eh? snakes in the grass, Allsnakes Insurance Company versus Allsnakes ins. Company.

    The worst thing a person can do , is confront your lawyer/rehab. casemanger with fraud.

    That was my one and only mistake. Little ole me up against the GIANTS alone.

    They beat me down, I was no match for them…all the criminal corruption by these band of crooks should be investigated. They’re truely the lowest scum on earth.
    Stealing from those who are struggling to survive is somewhat the dirtiest and lowest form a lawyer can be.

    – You are your insurance company’s best friend until you file a claim, then you become their number one enemy.

    Reply
  5. Dorothy

    There will be a federal election 2015. The legislation the provincial liberals foist upon Ontarions today may come back to bite the ferderal liberals in their proverbial butts. I know my energy is endless when injustice is committed by broken promises using tax dollars.

    Reply
  6. Joseph

    Insurance companies in Ontario and the Ontario govt are nothing but lying cheating bastards who all need to be jailed both have been ripping off Ontarian s for decades. Stand up people enough is enough! next election vote Wynne out of office! Put a stop to the Liberal govt lies and insurance companies bribing the Libs to change laws in favor of the insurance companies , enough is enough fight back for the injured and suffering who can’t!

    Reply
  7. Bob

    Insurance companies complain that there’s too much fraud and paying out unnecessary money only raises premiums. I’m currently dealing with unnecessary delays from 3 different insurance companies. It’s unfortunate that we all have to suffer from fraud but the insurers will always get the money back in the long run. So anyone that can rip them off, more power to ya.
    They are a bunch of bastards.

    Reply
  8. Lisa Daher

    Cooperators are the bastards that I had. They refuse to pay for any medical care or approve any medical plans then claim I have no medical expenses. What is a jackass insurance person approving my medical plan. They hire their own doctors and promote a small number of chirps and therapists on their bankroll so as to pre buy their insurance reports. Ontario is very corrupt. I got hit cycling in a bike lane when a driver did a blind turn into a private driveway. Although I have provided treatment plans from Osteopaths, Functional Neurologists and so forth, nothing matters but the doctors on the lawyers or the insurance companies payroll. Ontario sucks. The insurance act in Ontario is unconstitutional and contrary to human rights.

    Reply
  9. Tracey

    Who do talk to or get internet answers from. Background I was rear ended Jan 2014, had nothing shown on er emergency x-rays. I have preexisting problems that have gotten worse or started since the accident. I was a S****farm insurance patron, I started pt and therapist refused to put it in under minor medical as he felt my injury’s were way more (one is a herniated brain called Chiari only diagnosed 9 days after accident) . Insurance company sent me for an independent assessment in June 2014, I was granted major medical at that time due to their physician 18 pages and he stated with my issues i may never recover properly. They couldn’t pay any wage loss as I was already disabled (Canada rev. since 2006 form 2201) I was suffering worse I felt so stopped PT but advised insurance company why. I was at my wit’s end so tried chiropractic (never a believer) they denied the claim wanting to send me again for another dr exam (different one). I didn’t sue as I felt I would be okay as they awarded 50,000 in major medical. When the accident happened i had lots of help at home and mobility wasn’t as bad of a struggle. I haven’t much fight in me and just the travel and appt is so so much I want to give up. Just to see my family doctor is so hard for me. I hate to complain when I have other life threatening issues. I am n Ontario, other driver charged with careless Questions
    1. What are my rights
    2. Forms? for mobility help (scooter and lift)
    3. Attendant care for cooking ( or meals on wheels), minor cleaning, someone available for falls
    4. Severe anxiety ( leading to severe depression due to pain and not sleeping because it wakes me to leave the house since ( driving). I have no Rx or a t private insurance
    5. How often can they do this to me ( send me to new DR’s) I fear they plan to continue changing physician until they get the answer they want

    Sorry for all the questions but Google isn’t helping

    Thank you in advance

    Reply

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